More questions about Andersonville Theological Seminary

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by rpniman, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. rpniman

    rpniman
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    I appreciate the expert opinions on this board and hope you can honestly answer some questions for me. I feel the Lord may be calling me into the ministry and feel that I need some formal seminary education to become as knowledgeable about the Bible and how to minister as I need to be. I also understand that to some extent I will need to be "seeker sensitive" and feel that to many a title helps them feel comfortable that you are qualified to be an authority in their life. The problem is I've already earned a B.A. Visual Communication from a regionally accredited university and will be paying off student loans for the next decade. I have a full time secular job, wife, and 4 children. Finances and schedule flexibility are definitely a challenge in my life as it pertains to continuing education.

    I've asked the Lord to lead me and open the doors he wants me to walk through and I THINK he has lead me to Andersonville Theological Seminary. The curriculum appears to be legitimate, challenging, and I would assume quite effective in preparing one for ministry and counseling. I have read several of the threads that have been posted here concerning the legitimacy of Andersonville Theological Seminary. I understand that there are some that believe the degree earned is worthless because it is not regionally accredited, although it has earned affiliate status by the Association for Biblical Higher Education which is a legitimate accreditor recognized by the USDE, and completely agree that the degree probably wouldn't carry much weight in terms of secular academia prestige. Here are my questions that I would like help with.

    1) How is this education viewed in the eyes of most religious organizations (Southern Baptist Convention, American Baptist, etc)?

    2) Does this education curriculum fully equip one to be ordained and effectively pastor a large congregation?

    3) Does the NCCA counseling license allow you to council in a different capacity than a church pastor (court ordered counseling programs, drug alcohol abuse programs, etc)?

    4) Does the KJVO format of the lectures preclude you from using NIV in your studies?

    5) If you don't recommend ATS are there any similar types of programs (distance/online format and relatively inexpensive) that you would recommend?

    Thanks for answering these questions. I have faith that the Lord has lead me to this board to either help confirm my calling to this school or show me the errors in my current thinking.

    God Bless,
    Rob
     
  2. Martin

    Martin
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    1) How is this education viewed in the eyes of most religious organizations (Southern Baptist Convention, American Baptist, etc)?

    My experience, and there maybe others here with simular or different experiences, is that Baptist churches generally don't care what school a pastor earned his degree at. The pastor at my former church earned his degree (ThM, ThD) through Covington. He realizes that his degree is unaccredited and not up to the same standard as simular degrees from Dallas or Southeastern.

    If the Lord is calling you to be a minister, I imagine Andersonville would do a good job preparing you for the ministry. However I would encourage you to look at schools that have much better reputations (Luther Rice, Temple Baptist, etc). If they are out of your price range, and you believe the Lord is giving you the green light to work through Andersonville, then by all means obey the Lord. However make sure you are following the Lord in this and not just trying to avoid paying higher tuition. Don't sell yourself short or try to find shortcuts. There are always ways to pay the tuition.

    Talk to your pastor and your Sunday school teacher about this. They should be able to help.

    2) Does this education curriculum fully equip one to be ordained and effectively pastor a large congregation?

    Since Baptist Churches generally do not require degrees, then certainly you could use a Andersonville degree to get a job as a pastor in a Baptist or Independent Church. However some larger churches may wish to have pastors who have earned their degrees through accredited schools. So, by going through Andersonville you are taking a risk. Again, I would encourage you to consider online, accredited, alternatives to Andersonville.

    3) Does the NCCA counseling license allow you to council in a different capacity than a church pastor (court ordered counseling programs, drug alcohol abuse programs, etc)?

    I don't know. I would strongly suggest you find out before spending money at Andersonville. Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary offers a Masters in Pastoral Counseling online that you may wish to look into. Liberty University offers a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling online. Either way, do your homework by contacting any agencies you need to in order to obtain correct information. Don't take anyone's word on these things, after all it is your future and that is too important to leave it up to second hand information.

    4) Does the KJVO format of the lectures preclude you from using NIV in your studies?

    You will need to contact Andersonville for that information. Since Andersonville is strongly KJVO, I imagine they will want you to use the KJV on papers and tests (etc). However they can't control what translation you use when studying.

    5) If you don't recommend ATS are there any similar types of programs (distance/online format and relatively inexpensive) that you would recommend?

    Luther Rice, Temple Baptist, and Liberty Baptist would be the best. I don't know about your budget and I don't know if you qualify for any sort of aid.

    Good luck and may the Lord bless you as you seek to do His will! :thumbs:
     
  3. Phil310

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    Try looking into Louisiana Baptist University and Theological Seminary at www.lbu.edu. They are not accredited either but would definitely be a few steps up on their requirements. I'm considering the ThD through Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary.
     
  4. rpniman

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    Thanks for the feedback. Is there anyone that can comment on the differences between the two programs? I know that neither are regionally accredited, but in terms of the quality of education, can anyone provide specific reasons to favor one over the other?

    Thanks again for your opinions.

    God Bless,

    Rob
     
  5. EdSutton

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    Good post!

    I am not necessarily agreeing with or advocating any particular school, here, but merely suggest that an honest approach is always the best, in this.

    Essentially and effectively, you will get what you pay for, but you may well also 'pay for what you get'!

    Whatever any one person decides, I would hope that it is not some mere "settle for" situation. Ther are enough 'good schools' available and ways to handle the finances (including scholarships and/or financial aid throught the institution, itself), that one does not realistically have to do any of it "second-rate' or "on the cheap".

    Think about it.

    Ed
     
    #5 EdSutton, Dec 15, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2007
  6. tonyhipps

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    I've been where you are and can relate.

    I'm finishing my B.Min with Andersonville and then will start my Masters with NATS next year. Andersonville is a good school to help you prepare for the Ministry, but you have to be realistic and realize that a non-accredited degree will open very few doors for you other than a Pastorate position at the local church level.

    Here are some links for free curriculum that've helped me immensely.

    http://www.covenantseminary.edu/worldwide/
    http://www.biblicaltraining.org/
    http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=3119
    http://www.thebible.net/video/
    http://biblecollege.ccgathering.net/
    http://theologyamerica.org/courses/index.htm

    Most of these links are reformed but they are an excellent source of free education!

    Also check out NATS North American Theological Society They've moved their home office to Flagstaff, Arizona and now can grant religious degrees. Also, they are a free school. If your going to attend an unaccredited school why not attend a free one. Plus they're far more rigorous than Andersonville.
     
  7. Paul33

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    If money is an issue, then go to Liberty University online and earn a M.A. degree over five or six years.

    Take two or three classes per year!

    You can really sink your teeth into the course, afford it, and when you are finished, you will have an acredited M.A. degree.

    There are no short cuts. You don't know what God is going to lead you into over the years. Don't make a mistake up front and waste time pursuing a substandard degree.

    Liberty Theological Seminary has great options for earning a M.A. all online. You won't regret this option if you take this route.
     
  8. TCGreek

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    If RA is an issue, Liberty is the way to go. If not, but you'll like some sort of accredition, try Luther rice or Temple, for they are TRACS. :thumbs:
     
  9. rpniman

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    Thanks for your response. I appreciate all the opinions and the advice that a non-accredited degree limits the doors that my be open for me. But I already have a B.A that can open secular doors for me if that was my goal.

    It appears that all the opinions against a non-accredited theological degree have more to do with a lack of secular recognition than a lack of adequate biblical training. My goal is to become well educated in sound biblical doctrine and to prepare myself for possible pastorial ministry down the road. If my goal was to use my theological degree in a secular position or gain recognition and respect by acadamia then I would be more compelled to agree that the accreditation was vital. However, no one has provided specific reasons that would lead me to believe that a non accredited seminary provides a substandard biblical education based on that lack of accreditation.

    Thanks for the link to NATS. I'm researching them a bit but it definetly looks as if they are providing a good biblical education. And as you mentioned, why pay for a non accredited degree if there is equal or better educational opportunities for free. Does anyone have any personal experience with NATS?

    Thanks again,
    Rob

     
  10. rpniman

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    Thanks for your response. I appreciate all the opinions and the advice that a non-accredited degree limits the doors that my be open for me. But I already have a B.A that can open secular doors for me if that was my goal.

    It appears that all the opinions against a non-accredited theological degree have more to do with a lack of secular recognition than a lack of adequate biblical training. My goal is to become well educated in sound biblical doctrine and to prepare myself for possible pastorial ministry down the road. If my goal was to use my theological degree in a secular position or gain recognition and respect by acadamia then I would be more compelled to agree that the accreditation was vital. However, no one has provided specific reasons that would lead me to believe that a non accredited seminary provides a substandard biblical education based on that lack of accreditation.

    Thanks for the link to NATS. I'm researching them a bit but it definetly looks as if they are providing a good biblical education. And as you mentioned, why pay for a non accredited degree if there is equal or better educational opportunities for free. Does anyone have any personal experience with NATS?

    Thanks again,
    Rob

     
  11. StefanM

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    1) I disagree. I've seen multiple lists of requirements for prospective pastors, and many of them have a specific requirement for an accredited seminary degree. Some SBC churches even specify certain seminaries (e.g. the official "six").

    In addition, you can't discount the value of networking. Getting an online degree from an unaccredited institution will do almost nothing for your networking.

    There will be bias against those who complete unaccredited programs. Simply put, they will not have the church opportunities that accredited programs afford. Some churches will simply throw your resume in the trash when they see Covington or Andersonville on it. It's harsh, but it's the truth.

    Online accredited degrees are better, and on-campus accredited degrees are best (for networking purposes and campus experience).
     
  12. bubba36

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    faith

    I have been going to Andersonville for a while now. I am proud of the degree I obtained and find it to be some what foolish for anyone to say you cannot do anything more than a so called "accredited" diploma. Listen people, if you have a chance to take a course there...Do so!

    God has always used the least of men to do his greatest things and duties. It is a fine Christian school. I applied and was accepted to Westminster (England) from ATS to a BA with Honors program in Religion and Theology. Good enough for for a Wesley school but not for the people in the so called American accredited schools.

    My point is not pride, but to show you all that "with God all things are possible". Go to Andersonville for the great, sound and practical Bible knowlege. Learn Gods Word and just have faith. They can talk back and forth about your school for years to come. While they are...We will be doing Gods work and not waisting time on minor things.
     
    #12 bubba36, Dec 30, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2007
  13. tonyhipps

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    Amen Brother bubba36 :godisgood:
     
  14. prophecy2007ad

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    I apologize for the late post here, but I wanted to say a little something regarding this topic...

    Many seem to knock Andersonville and other non-traditional religious institutions mainly because of their accreditation status, however, we must all remember that when it comes to a "Religious" degree, certain acceditation means very little. Also, Some are getting the wrong idea about accreditation.

    Let me elaborate...

    First of all, Andersonville "IS" accredited, just not by the U.S. Dept. of Ed., or by ATS (American Theological Schools - "more important.") ... they've been around for quite sometime and have graduated 1000's of students.

    Being accredited by the U.S. Dept. of Ed., is mostly for student Finacial Aid, loans, scholarships, etc. The United States has no Federal ministry of education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions in this country. The states assume varying degrees of control over education, but, in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy... In order to ensure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting nongovernmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. There is no such requirement as Federal or State accreditation of a religious institution, because the civil government has no authority to regulate religious teachings or which certificates or religious degrees upon completion of such education may be issued. This is a matter of separation of Church and State. Politicians and civil authorities must never be allowed to officially endorse or disapprove directly or indirectly the beliefs and practices of churches or their schools. A casual survey of Church history shows that such linkage with "Caesar" eventually leads to infringement upon conscience, bondage, and corruption. Therefore, to be accredited by any agency, which in turn is controlled by the U.S. Department of Education, would to some degree be a compromise of the separation principle and constitute a violation of the Church's sovereignty.

    So, in saying that, having a religious degree accredited by the U.S. dept. of Ed. is not necessary. However, unless a would-be pastor is going to go into a mainstream religion (Catholic, Lutheran, etc.), then a degree accredited by ATS (American Theological Schools) is much more important.

    Even "Liberty" and "Faith" Seminaries are not accredited by ATS, only by the U.S. Dept. of Ed.

    You cannot even earn a "Master of Divinity" 100% online from any seminary accredited by ATS. You have to go on campus. So, was born the alternative religious schools and seminaries.

    My point is, schools like Andersonville is a good christian school. It is "not" a "diploma mill." I heard someone mention that is was, and I'm sorry to tell you, you are wrong. Diploma Mills are schools that ask you for a fee then hand you your diploma. If any kind of course work is involved in your degree program, then it's not a diploma mill.

    There was even a fedreal agent that reviewed Andersonville, and gave them nothing but praise.

    Andersonville and schools like them are good christian schools, helping people to fulfill their dreams as lay people pastors, church workers, etc. Obtaining a religious degree from lets say, "Liberty" is no different, only the U.S. accreditation. Of course, if someone is looking to get a job outside the church or in a government office, then you may want some futher accreditation, but again, it's not necessary. Religion is "FREE."

    Go to where the Lord leads you.

    Pax Christi,

    John
     
    #14 prophecy2007ad, Mar 31, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2008
  15. Martin

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    ==Let me say, first of all, that I am only speaking for myself here. Allow me also to say that I have nothing against those brothers/sisters in the LORD who have earned (who are earning) their degrees through Andersonville Seminary. My concerns with Andersonville have very little to do with accreditation. While lack of "offical" accreditation is a problem, there are good schools that are not accredited. My main problem with Andersonville is that its academic curriculum is not as demanding as it should be (mainly at the doctorate level).


    ==ATS is not more important than regional accreditation. Why? Because schools only accredited by ATS or TRACS may not have their credits/degrees honored by regionally accredited schools. In the United States most academic positions require regionally accredited degrees. Having a regionally accredited degree is much better than a TRACS or ATS only degree.

    Andersonville is not accredited. If a medical school claimed to be accredited, and then you discovered that their accreditation was private and not offical/recognized, I doubt you would want to see a doctor who graduated from that school. Right? Ok, so my question is why should colleges and seminaries that teach the most important subject in the whole world be held to a lower standard? I don't believe that is the way it should be. Bible Colleges and Seminaries should be the most academically demanded schools in the nation. Offical accreditation should be assumed.


    ==It is also for getting degrees/credits transfered to other accredited schools, being able to apply for academic jobs, and other jobs that require accredited degrees.

    Let's also be clear that much of your post is a copy/paste from http://www.ed.gov/print/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation.html

    Therefore much of your post is not your elaborations (as you claimed).

    ==Not necessary in the field of religion, maybe, but certainly much more profitable in the long run. I could tell you stories of people who earned unaccredited religious degrees only to later find doors shut in their face and their dreams delayed or wiped out.

    ==Regional accreditation is much more important than ATS in the world of academics. I would urge a person to earn their graduate degree(s) from a regionally accredited school. Schools that are accredited only by ATS or TRACS are fine and wonderful, but if they don't also hold regional accreditation students who graduate from those schools could find their future academic goals frustrated.

    ==People need to be concerned that the work they are doing is at the proper level. Degree mill or not, if a school is not requiring the proper level of study for a degree then there is a problem. So saying that Andersonville is not a degree mill is not enough. I have seen Andersonville course work and I don't believe it is up to graduate level. Having gone through two graduate degree programs I do have some idea of what graduate level work looks like.

    ==Evidence? Copy of report? Why was the agent visiting? Offical visit or casual? Was this "agent" in education? If these answers cannot be provided the claim is worthless.

    ==Liberty is much different from Andersonville. The scholarship behind the classes is better, the course material is much more seminary/graduate level, and the school is regionally accredited.

    There was a time when those looking for distance education had to settle for what they could get. That time has passed. There are too many good, accredited schools out there to justify going through a school like Andersonville.

    ==Or if a person may wish to further their education at a later date.

    ==With all due respect, that all too common excuse is not factual. There are plenty of evangelical seminaries which are regionally accredited and are not compromising anything. Accreditation does not deal with theology it deals with how things are taught.
     
  16. prophecy2007ad

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    Let me say, first of all, that I am only speaking for myself here. Allow me also to say that I have nothing against those brothers/sisters in the LORD who have earned (who are earning) their degrees through Andersonville Seminary. My concerns with Andersonville have very little to do with accreditation. While lack of "offical" accreditation is a problem, there are good schools that are not accredited. My main problem with Andersonville is that its academic curriculum is not as demanding as it should be (mainly at the doctorate level).

    I will you give you that one. The curriculum could be more indepth, yes, but it also depends on what the student wants or needs.

    ATS is not more important than regional accreditation. Why? Because schools only accredited by ATS or TRACS may not have their credits/degrees honored by regionally accredited schools. In the United States most academic positions require regionally accredited degrees. Having a regionally accredited degree is much better than a TRACS or ATS only degree.

    That's your opinion, because being accredited regionally for a religious degree is not more important. The U.S. dept of ed. has no say so for any type of religious degree because of the seperation of Church/State. Religion is "FREE" remember?

    Andersonville is not accredited. If a medical school claimed to be accredited, and then you discovered that their accreditation was private and not offical/recognized, I doubt you would want to see a doctor who graduated from that school. Right? Ok, so my question is why should colleges and seminaries that teach the most important subject in the whole world be held to a lower standard? I don't believe that is the way it should be. Bible Colleges and Seminaries should be the most academically demanded schools in the nation. Offical accreditation should be assumed.

    Ok, "Religion" and the "Medical field" are a BIG difference. Why would you compare religion to medical? LOL. And I would beg to differ in saying that bible colleges and seminaries should be the most academically demanding schools. But any way, back to the point... It seems to me that many think, even "Wikipedia" (I saw it on their web page) that being accredited though the U.S. dept. of Education is the only way for a school to be "Accredited." This is not so. If a school, or any other place has any kind of accreditation backing them, they are an Accredited Institution. Andersonville holds accreditation through TAC (Transworld Accrediting Agency). You can visit their website at http://www.traccom.org/ Andersonville is also on the list of ACSI (Accociation of Christian Schools International). You can even call them for info at 1-800-525-1611. Just because a school or institution is not accredited through an agency which is recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Ed., doesn't necessarily mean they hold no accreditation. Many have thrown this way out of porportion.

    So theoretically, Andersonville Theological Seminary "IS" accredited.


    ==It is also for getting degrees/credits transfered to other accredited schools, being able to apply for academic jobs, and other jobs that require accredited degrees.

    Let's also be clear that much of your post is a copy/paste from http://www.ed.gov/print/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation.html

    Therefore much of your post is not your elaborations (as you claimed).

    From the Gov section, yes, I did copy and paste a section to prove a point. The rest is from my own words, knowledge and experience. So what? Looks like you have some copy/paste yourself. Painting the kettle black are we? Look in your own backyard. Bah!

    ==Not necessary in the field of religion, maybe, but certainly much more profitable in the long run. I could tell you stories of people who earned unaccredited religious degrees only to later find doors shut in their face and their dreams delayed or wiped out.

    Then by all means, tell me some stories. I "Might" listen. lol. I could also tell you about MANY people who have graduated from Andersonville that hold outside church positions. Some places will accept degrees from places like Andersonville, and some won't. Not everyone is going to turn down your degree from lack of certain accreditation. That's just stupid.

    ==Regional accreditation is much more important than ATS in the world of academics. I would urge a person to earn their graduate degree(s) from a regionally accredited school. Schools that are accredited only by ATS or TRACS are fine and wonderful, but if they don't also hold regional accreditation students who graduate from those schools could find their future academic goals frustrated.

    Again, no, not unless you are looking for a job outside the church. For a church position, accreditation is not that important. Many non-denominal pastors don't even have any training at all. Sad but true.

    ==People need to be concerned that the work they are doing is at the proper level. Degree mill or not, if a school is not requiring the proper level of study for a degree then there is a problem. So saying that Andersonville is not a degree mill is not enough. I have seen Andersonville course work and I don't believe it is up to graduate level. Having gone through two graduate degree programs I do have some idea of what graduate level work looks like.

    Agreed, but they are not a diploma mill. Far from it.

    ==Evidence? Copy of report? Why was the agent visiting? Offical visit or casual? Was this "agent" in education? If these answers cannot be provided the claim is worthless.

    I read it on their website a few weeks ago; It was an interesting read for sure. When I find it again, I will post it, but until then, keep your shorts on.

    ==Liberty is much different from Andersonville. The scholarship behind the classes is better, the course material is much more seminary/graduate level, and the school is regionally accredited.

    Ok, more on being regionally accredited. Like I said before, It's not as important as many seem to think. Acceditation is voluntary for starters,... No school has to do it. Being accredited regionally merely means that college credits or degrees received at a regionally accredited institution are accepted by other regionally accredited colleges or universities. So, if you want your credits or degree to be passed to another accredited institution, then yes, you would want that regional accreditation, but if not, then it's not necessary.

    There was a time when those looking for distance education had to settle for what they could get. That time has passed. There are too many good, accredited schools out there to justify going through a school like Andersonville.

    But for those that cannot afford $300 + per credit hr and not concerned with being accredited by the U.S. dept. of ed., then Andersonville is the place to go.


    ==Or if a person may wish to further their education at a later date.

    Yes.

    ==With all due respect, that all too common excuse is not factual. There are plenty of evangelical seminaries which are regionally accredited and are not compromising anything. Accreditation does not deal with theology it deals with how things are taught.

    Agreed. But what it all boils down to self satisfation. Go to where the Lord leads you. Religion is free, and just because a school is not accredited through the lovely U.S. Gov., doesn't make it a bad school offering useless degrees. My entire point was that Andersonville is a good Christian School, offering a decent and affordable theological education; one to be proud of.
     
    #16 prophecy2007ad, Apr 1, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2008
  17. Martin

    Martin
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    ==We are not talking about "religion" we are talking about education, which is not free. Anyone can learn the Bible, history, english, psychology, or math without attending a college or university. However if one wants a degree, to get an "official" education, one must pay. It is not free. As for regional accreditation, it is more important in any educational setting since it enjoys wider acceptance than TRACS or ATS alone.

    ==Schools that teach the most important subject in the world, in the universe, should be of the highest quality. I don't believe temperal subjects should demand more quality than eternal subjects. Therefore theological seminaries should be of the highest education quality.

    ==It is the only way of accreditation that promises the work done at an institution will enjoy wide acceptance. Attending unaccredited schools, or "private" accredited schools, carries a big risk (limiting your future).

    ==No, technically they are not. I have first-hand experience with accreditation and I assure you Andersonville has never met the demanding standards of true accreditation. If it had, it would have no excuse for remaining unaccredited by an "offical" accrediting body.

    ==Please show me where I have committed plagiarism (ie...copy/paste another's work without giving them credit). I don't recall copying anything in my reply. Anything I copy I cite. You cited nothing.

    ==Ok, I know of a lady who got a BA in Christian Education from a non-accredited distance learning school. When she tried to enter a university to get teacher licensure, so that she could keep her job at a private Christian school, she was turned away and told that she had to earn an accredited BA first. I also know of people who have tried to get academic jobs with degrees from schools like Andersonville only to find out the accreditation such schools boast is not accepted. I have even seen non-accredited schools require that people apply for teaching positions have regionally accredited degrees.

    I could go on and on, but I see no point.

    Btw, I believe there are some people who post on this very forum who have personal stories of their own about schools like Andersonville.

    ==Stupid or not, most will. That is reality. As far as people getting jobs "outside" of the church after graduating from Andersonville, I think thats great for them. However I wonder if they got that job based "on" Andersonville or based on their personal experience or qualifications.

    ==Unless they can provide some sort of documentation that shows (a) why the federal agent was at Andersonville, (b) was the agent in the education department or some other department, (c) was his/her visit offical or casual, (d) what did the agent look at and why? etc. the claim is meaningless. They have to prove that the agent's visit had anything to do with the quality of their programs.


    ==There was a time when that would have been a valid reason. However with distance learning in which a person can take one class at a time and assistance from financial aide, pell, churches, mission boards, friends, and family, etc, I don't see how such a reason is all that valid anymore. When I was in seminary I paid for it one class or two classes at a time.

    Having seen Andersonville's graduate work requirments I don't believe the school offers its students a high-quality education.
     
    #17 Martin, Apr 1, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2008
  18. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I object to the concept that seminary should be equivalent or harder/more rigorous than medical education. If that were the case, probably 90% of pastors would not qualify even to enter seminary.

    Medical school is highly challenging, but it also attracts the highest caliber of students.

    Seminary is a totally different concept. Seminary is designed to equip those who are called by God to serve. God doesn't restrict his call to those with 3.8+ GPAs in college or those with a 80+ percentile score on the GRE. We must be realistic in our seminary training.

    By no means am I denigrating solid education. I'm in seminary right now at an accredited institution (RA), and my undergraduate degree is also from an accredited institution (RA). I firmly believe in obtaining a quality education.

    That being said, I see (and I may be misinterpreting) an attitude on the BB that a seminary degree should be ridiculously difficult and should require 60+ hours a week of research, with 100+ pages of writing per course. I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get my point. There is a point at which we must recognize that a basic seminary degree (MDiv, MACE, M.Miss.) is not a research degree.

    The point of the basic seminary degrees is to equip pastors, missionaries, and other ministers for service. We do not have to overcompensate for an academic inferiority complex by brutalizing average Joe from Chickamauga with an oppressive amount of coursework. Seminaries are not "better" because they require more hours for a master's degree than any other field. Nor are they "better" if they require more pages of research. It's a matter of objectives.

    I agree with the sentiment that degree mills or substandard unaccredited institutions do a disservice to the individuals pursuing degrees from them. I have the lingering suspicion that the issue is not money as much as it is the desire to have the title. You can learn much of what is taught in seminary from other sources. You can't, however, get the degree.

    What does it take to fulfill the objectives? I can't answer that question. That's for the professor to determine. There are basic expectations associated with graduate-level work, and surely these should be maintained.

    We don't have to get into the mentality, however, that if one is good, then two must be better, and thirty-four must be better still! A similar mentality led the Pharisees astray as they created hedges around the Mosaic Law. It sneaks up on us, and we must be vigilant.

    Example: I know of a friend at a major Baptist seminary who had to write a book review over ten pages in length. That is an absolute waste of time. No academic journal will print a book review of that length, and I question the usefulness of such an assignment. If I had turned in a review of that length in any of my history classes in the past, my professor would have laughed and thrown it back at me. Why? Length doesn't equal substance.

    Similarly, I think we can maintain a reasonable level of difficulty in seminary curriculum that will sacrifice neither academic integrity nor the lives of the students. It's easy for the academics to call for increased difficulty, but what cost will the young pastor with a wife and two kids pay?
     
  19. prophecy2007ad

    prophecy2007ad
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    I "can" see your point, but again, I must argue about regional accreditation. Unless one is looking for a position outside of the pulpit of a church, or seeking to enter a regionally accredited institution, then that regional accreditation is not necessary.

    Hmmm, I think I see your point Martin. Being a medical doctor, you can save a life, but as a pastor, you can save a soul. Was this your thinking? If so, well done! I never thought of that. Nice. :applause:

    The student(s) must be aware of the dangers of non-regional accreditation prior to attending and or obtaining their degree(s). But yes, you are right ... there will be limits.

    With all due respect, I still beg to differ ... accreditation comes in many forms, and once again, if one is not looking for credit transfer, or wanting a position aside their church pulpit, then schools like Andersonville will suffice. Religion is "Free," through that wonder seperation of Church & State, and need no influence or backing from the U.S. Gov.

    Well, I don't feel sorry for this woman, or anyone that got smoked like she did, because they should have been aware of the limits and possible consequences of non-regional accreditation.
     
    #19 prophecy2007ad, Apr 2, 2008
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  20. thomas15

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    I think, that given the situation the the OP is in (family responsibilities, student loans and so forth), that if this individual is going to make the sacrifices necessary to persue another degree, he would be wise to go all out, get one from an accreditated college. It will, at the end of the day open more doors.

    I also believe that he has already a great advantage in that he brings to the table life experiences that a seminary graduate of say 24 years of age simply does not have.

    Everyone has heard of Liberty University or Dallas Seminary. If you hold a degree from a school such as that, you don't have to explain anything. Their doctrine and reputation is well known.

    I'm not being critical of any school, rather I'm just stating my opinion on college accreditation.

    Tom
     

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